Something that adds a touch of luxury to the everyday, that carries the air of Japan about it. A thing that beckons you to use it. Shopkeeper KASHIYUKA set out across Japan to find such handiworks. Her second purchasing quest took her to Oita – the capital of Japan's bamboo trade. There she visited with master of the form, Mr. Koji Nakaiwa.
When the weaving is completed, varnish is applied. If properly cared for, these bags can last 100 to 200 years, the material taking on a deep amber luster. Naturally, they complement a traditional kimono or yukata beautifully. But they’re delightful, as well, alongside a simple T-shirt! They’re pricy – as things that take time and great labor inevitably are – and can be difficult to obtain. But it’s precisely the wait that makes them feel more precious, and the splendid feeling of owning something that will endure beyond even oneself.
Masuajiro-ami woven bag (left). Finished in fuki-urushi lacquer, containing purse and tie-strings. Width, 24 cm; depth 10.5 cm; height, 14.5cm. ¥200,000 On right, the hime-tamatebako (treasure chest) style.
Koji Nakaiwa, born 1976, Oita prefecture. Apprenticed to second-generation master Chikusei Watanabe, he was, himself, officially recognized as a national traditional craftsman at age 34.
Yuka Kashino (KASHIYUKA)Yuka Kashino is a member of the techno pop group Perfume. She admires Japanese ceramics and traditional crafts, and has been known to line up in the early hours for a first glimpse of solo exhibitions by masters of the form.Perfume’s latest single, “Mugen Mirai” (Infinite Future), theme of the new film “Chihayafuru Musubi”, is in stores now. www.perfume-web.jp